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Clergy sex abuse survivor Irene Deschenes co-founds new group to help victims

Date Shared: November 21st, 2023
Date Released: November 19th, 2023


A London, Ont., woman who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest is now heading a new organization aimed at delivering speedier justice for victims.

This month, Irene Deschenes helped found Outrage Canada, a national non-religious advocacy group with a mandate to hold the church accountable for sexual abuse by the clergy.

The group proposes the federal government set up a national reporting centre to gather and investigate reports of clergy abuse.

Deschenes said the current system re-victimizes people who file abuse allegations with the church. 

"Right now, for folks their knee-jerk reaction is to go right to the institution that harmed them," she said. "Priests and bishops, they're not trained to investigate crimes."

Deschenes said the Catholic Church can't be trusted to investigate itself, and that it has a poor record of working with police to investigate sexual abuse by clergy.

"That's why we're hoping that there will be a national, independent reporting agency so that someone independent can be involved in the reporting," she said.